VIP Focus: Removing the ‘Hassle’ From School Safety Compliance

DashBoard, May 18, 2016

Submitted by Thom Jones, Director of Sales, NaviGate Prepared

For school administrators, ensuring safety has always been a top priority. However, in Michigan, this culture of safety now requires that administrators fulfill additional legislation for safety and training drills, as well as the associated planning, implementation and oversight.

This legislation is categorized under “Public Act 12.” PA 12 became effective July 1, 2014, and was designed to update Michigan’s school safety drill requirements to ensure students would be better prepared for emergencies. The act was a recommendation by a multiagency school safety workgroup put in place by Gov. Rick Snyder to review best practices and policies of safe school plans.

A Brief Overview

PA 12 refreshed and updated the types of safety and training drills Michigan schools were to conduct annually, requiring that—moving forward—all schools and/or districts post documentation of completed safety drills on their websites within 30 days of drill completion. Additionally, these detailed reports were to remain publically viewable on the school or district website for at least three years.

The act also adjusted the requirements for the type and frequency of annual safety drills conducted. Notable changes were that schools needed to:

  • Conduct five fire safety drills throughout a school year (three need to be completed before Dec. 1)
  • Hold two tornado safety drills (including one in March)
  • Stage three lockdown drills to prepare for possible school intruders (one of the three must be conducted during a lunch-recess period)

Furthermore, administrators must provide a list of scheduled drill days to their county’s Emergency Management Agency by Sept. 15 of each year.

Keeping the Focus on Safety

To be sure, as best practices in school safety continue to evolve, it is important states and districts enact such learnings and go beyond compliance mitigating risk and safeguarding our students. However, policies and procedures inherently carry with them varying degrees of administrative duties including planning, training, implementing, testing, documenting, logging, sharing and so on. Such duties may often take away from the actual intended safety measures.

Organization is key. Maintain current procedure binders and flipcharts keeping staff equipped with up-to-date content. Today, your binders and flipcharts can be made available through Software as a Service providers offering real-time access to all of your safety procedures. What’s more, administrators upload the information once and updates are made automatically across all users. No more worrying about whether each teacher has the latest version.

SaaS solutions further streamline compliance mandates by allowing online scheduling and logging of safety drills and simple, one-click posting to a school or district’s public website. Automatic notification to county EMA and other agencies keep staff focused on student safety, not compliance busywork.

Thom Jones is the Director of Sales for NaviGate Prepared and can be reached at [email protected] or 740.963.3141.

VIP Focus articles are company-sponsored advertisements and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of MASB. It’s intended to provide Very Important Partners with a space to share information of value to you and your district.

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